Patricia A. McKillip’s beguiling THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD is damn near perfect
Praise and appreciation for Patricia A. McKillip’s World Fantasy winner THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD keep flooding in.
WAY TOO FANTASY includes the novel among their Favorite Reads of 2017.
Hands down Patricia McKillip has some of the very best prose in the fantasy genre and it’s always a joy to sit down with one of her novels.
Not only is the prose wonderful, but the story is great, if somewhat straight forward. Sybel is used to being left alone by other humans. Sybel is used to making her own decisions. Sybel is used to the wild of the mountain and the company of her beasts. This story is about the changes Sybel undergoes when she moves off of the mountain, starts interacting with other people, and has to decide what are the most important things she values in her life. These decisions don’t come easy, and that much is made clear in this tale. Sybel can be stubborn at times, and isn’t always concerned about manners (she’s a bit wild and skittish like her beasts), but she’s someone I could relate to in a lot of ways. I love stories with great character arcs and I feel like this is one of the best I’ve read.
On REDDIT, yetanotherhero praises the book.
Man. Oh, man. This book is phenomenal. It’s beautiful. It’s profound. It’s poignant. It’s damn near perfect.
I really don’t want to say anything about the plot or the character arcs, but this story really does have a thematic and emotional depth that is jaw-dropping for its economy. Love, family, war, hatred, politics, fear, freedom, slavery, gender, sexuality, friendship, wisdom….to talk meaningfully about these topics, a schmuck like me, and many bestselling authors, would need pages to achieve what McKillip does in sentences, chapters to do what she does in pages, and given a whole trilogy most could still never do what she does in this book.
And it’s all done in third person omniscient! The sheer intimacy McKillip conveys without ever giving a direct peak into her character’s heads is astounding. I put the book down feeling similar to when I read Robin Hobb- that the author has an almost humbling grasp on compassion and humanity.
I really don’t know how to put more into words without spoiling a book that should be discovered as you read. If you like fantasy that is character focused and emotionally rich, stop reading my rambling, for God’s sake, and go find this book.
Photo: Stephen Gold/Wikimedia Commons
As part of Top Ten Tuesday, X+1 lists their books that left a good impression.
Top Ten Tuesday is was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week, we’re talking about books we know we loved, but we can’t quite remember why.
This week’s top ten are books I’ve given 4 and 5 stars to, but I’ve only read them once or twice – and I haven’t revisited them in over a decade, so it’s all a bit fuzzy. In some cases I can barely remember the pitch, let alone details of the plot or why I enjoyed it. In other cases I can still recall a bit of plot or a snatch of mood – but honestly, all I really know is that I really loved them when I read them…
THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD – Patricia McKillip
I read this one by recommendation, and because it’s a fantasy classic. A girl lives alone and attracts mythical beasts, until her family show up to reclaim her. I don’t remember the ins and outs, just a sense of a fairytale atmosphere that I found beguiling.
At BECCA’S BOOK REALM, Sarah Glenn Marsh is interviewed on her Reign of the Fallen Blog Tour.
As for authors who are my biggest inspirations: Patricia McKillip, hands down. Her writing is the strongest and most beautiful I’ve ever read, and I wish I had a style as elegant and mysterious as hers. If you’re not familiar with her work, here are some titles I love: Ombriain Shadow, Winter Rose, and THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD.
For more info about THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty